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Sinn Féin's Michelle O'Neill says PSNI has intelligence about planned attack on her by dissident republicans

The deputy leader of Sinn Féin and her party colleague Gerry Kelly are being targeted, according to O’Neill.

Image: PA

DEPUTY LEADER OF Sinn Féin, Michelle O’Neill, said she has been made aware of a planned attack on her and MLA Gerry Kelly from dissident republicans in Northern Ireland.

O’Neill, who is leader of the party in the North, said the PSNI has gathered evidence of a plot against her and her party colleague in recent weeks. 

“I have been told by the PSNI that they have intelligence that dissident republicans are planning an attack against myself and Gerry Kelly,” she said. 

“The backdrop to all of this is that over 500,000 people have voted for Sinn Féin, voted for change, voted for Irish unity, in the recent elections. These people have nothing to offer society. 

“These people clearly have intent to attack myself and Gerry’s families. We also are aware that this comes on the back of both myself and Gerry attending the PSNI recruitment fair last week. 

“So let me be very clear, dissident republicans have no strategy, they have no plan, they have no progress towards Irish unity and I think this attack, or this intelligence, comes at a time where we have a backdrop where we have never been closer to Irish unity.”

O’Neill has, over the past number of days been touring the count centres in Ireland where Sinn Féin candidates have been making gains. 

The party had a record success in last Saturday’s general election and is set to engage in talks with other party leaders in the coming days. 

“I want to bring about a unified Ireland, one that has civic policing at its core. One that has a representative policing service and I will not be deterred. Gerry Kelly will not be deterred and Sinn Féin will not be deterred trying to build a better society,” O’Neill said. 

O’Neill said she could not divulge further any information about what that planned attack might look like and said she was only made aware of this today. 

“We’ve been informed of this today and of course we have to take personal precautions. We have families, I have two children, I have a mother who will be very worried. Gerry has a family who also will be very worried, so we have to protect our families.

“But we have a job to do, we are elected, we have a mandate. We want to build a better society and we will not be deterred by people who do not have a strategy to move forward in terms of the Irish republican project.”

DUP leader Arlene Foster also condemned the planned attacks in a statement. 

“We live in a democracy,” she said. “The ballot box is how we effect change, not through the bomb or bullet. Whether in 1970, 1980, 1990 or 2020, violence from every hue must be condemned. There is no place for threats or violence.”

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood also weighed in on the planned attack saying the threats were “an attack not just on one party but on the peace we’ve all fought for”.

“Those behind it are setting themselves against the Irish people and they will never win. My thoughts are with Michelle, Gerry and their families today.”

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